Damage to the vandalized Les Anderson statue is so extensive it will need to be replaced.
Soldotna Chamber of Commerce executive director Michelle Glaves originally believed the life-size wooden carving would need a fresh fish figure at the most.
The statue’s carver Scott Hansen said large chunks have been cut from the base and the shoulders and fish have partially rotted. It makes more sense to make a new one, he said.
Glaves said an employee passing by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce May 10 originally noticed the destruction. The fish had been ripped from the grasp of Les Anderson, taking with it the long thin strips of metal bolting it to the statue.
It was found resting 30 feet away on a bench, Glaves said. Deep gashes were chopped from the large circular foundation of the statue with an axe. The figure is attached to cement, and someone tried to hack the entire figure from the it, she said.
At first there was some confusion because Hansen was scheduled to do maintenance repairs and restorations later that week. Hansen picked up the pieces the next day and hauled them to his shop.
The statue originally cost the city a little less than $4,000, Glaves said. She said it was also notable because it was damaged one week from the 29th anniversary of when Les Anderson originally caught the record breaking 97-pound-4-ounce salmon, which is on display in the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.
“It is kind of disheartening,” Glaves said “It’s been there for 10 years.”
Hansen said upon receiving the log he will carve the new statue from, it should only take him about a week to finish the new figure.
The Soldotna Police Department could not be reached for comment.
“He will be back soon with bright new clothes on,” Glaves said.
Kelly Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org